GPO Picks GS1

Global Trade Item Numbers will be required on packages.

By Daphne Allen


Premier Purchasing Partners (Charlotte, NC) is asking suppliers to its member hospitals to adopt GS1 data standards. These include use of the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) and the Global Location Number (GLN) and the Global Data Synchronization Network.

“We’d like to see GTINs at the level of issue to the patient, with some exceptions,” reported Joe Pleasant, chief information officer, senior vice president, in an interview with PMP News. “That way, clinicians can scan products as they are delivered to patients.”

In a letter to supplier account managers, Premier’s Strategic Advisory Committee wrote: “Without the GTIN, product identifiers are routinely changed to suit the needs of different trading partners, resulting in transaction errors and requiring inefficient workarounds to compensate.”

Premier’s five-year timeline is as follows:

2008–Launch and education; modify contract terms and conditions to include requirements for standards compliance.

2009–Request that providers and suppliers recognize GLNs and that the suppliers begin to register GTINs for their products.

2010–Require recognition and use of GLN by all providers and suppliers (December 2010).

2012–Require GTIN for all products from the suppliers; require the use of GTINs by all providers (December 2012).

There is no technology mandate, such as use of a particular bar code format or of RFID, explains Pleasant. “We do expect standards to be used, however,” he said.

Serialization was not mentioned in the committee’s letter. Pleasant did add that serialization on the packaging level being shipped to hospitals would be helpful, as would some automatic means of identifying batch or lot

Premier would also like to see more unit-dose or unit-of-use packaging, which is consistent with its previous suggestions. “Wherever we can, we’d like to prevent hospital
relabeling in order to promote patient safety and hospital efficiency,” Pleasant explained.

He emphasized that patient safety is the primary goal. When asked whether such efforts were also aimed at combating counterfeiting, he explained that “counterfeiting is not as much of an issue in hospitals as elsewhere.” However, “we believe that GTINs and serialization can also begin to help reduce counterfeiting” in general.

Copyright ©2009 Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News
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